How can anyone not love Joni? She is the consummate singer-songwriter and musician. Her voice is sublime and her songs complex, intelligent and intriguing. ‘Blue is one of my favourite albums of all-time.
Right from the off she challenged herself and audience. Her first album was a concept album that did not quite work. Her second was more conventional, less ambitious and more successful spawning a couple of songs in ‘Chelsea morning’ and ‘both sides now’ that reached a wider audience. ‘Ladies of the canyon’ was the move out of the narrow Folk field into the community of the Los Angeles Alternative Scene in Laurel Canyon where all the musicians lived and hung out. It jumped to the great ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and ‘Woodstock’. But it was with ‘Blue’ that everything came together; the poetry of the lyrics, the musicianship, the themes, range of emotions, the song-writing and voice.
Following that there were highs and lows with increasingly jazz-influenced work. The quality and brilliance was always there whether the material was commercial and accessible or more experimental. She put together an incredible a body of work that has range and depth.
Joni became disillusioned with the Music Business, as can be heard in the lyrics of some of her songs, and prefers to concentrate on her art.
I’d like to see and hear both a lot more.
Joni came out of Canada and had some sad times with polio and giving up a child or adoption affecting her early life. All of that and more have been featured in her work. After busking and playing in small clubs she moved to California and was discovered by David Crosby who recognised the talent and brought her into the fold. We have a lot to thank David for. For me Joni is the greatest female songwriter ever.